signed, titled and dated 'S. Graff 18 BOXERS' (on the reverse)
oil on strips of wood
1878 x 1558in. (48 x 39.8cm.)
Executed in 2018
Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner.
London, Mucciaccia Gallery, Stephane Graff: Mille-Feuilles & Sugar Bytes, 2020-2021.
Stephane Graff fragments, distorts and pixilates the images in his paintings, as if seeing them through a malfunctioning television or computer screen.

The Mille-Feuilles paintings such as Boxers can be traced back to Graff’s Black Box series from 1995. Here, the black box appeared like a digital cutout or void, censoring parts of the painting.

The evolution of Graff’s work coincides with the birth of the internet and the rapidly expanding influence of technology. While oil painting remains a purely analogue process, Graff’s focus on glitches and computer mishaps indicates a form of resistance to digital systems. The black box evolved into a multitude of coloured boxes, pixels and dislocated parts, all echoing societies’ ‘point of no return’ within the digital domain.

Within the Mille-Feuilles series, Graff employs a unique technique to deconstruct images into multiple horizontal sections. These are then offset to create pixilation and digital distortion. Each painting is intricately made up of over one hundred fine strips of wood, hand painted and carefully positioned prior to the artist’s laminating process. This unique system allows Graff to manipulate his painted images in a fluid fashion, fusing the idea of the plasticity of sculpture with painting itself.

The artist recounts: “The Mille-Feuille series began quite by accident when my computer printed a photograph in a most unexpected way. The computer radically glitched the image, transforming it into an array of fragmented layers. I attempted to emulate how the computer had sliced up the picture. I deduced that I needed to split a painting into numerous horizontal sections, which could later slide and be freely repositioned. The picture would become misaligned, as if a sudden involuntary contraction or spasm had fractured the image, creating a quasi-pixilated effect.
I came to see this process of glitching and deconstructing the image in a Proustian sense of time becoming reordered, shuffled and shifted within the subject matter itself. Through the metaphor of the glitch, I’m suggesting a temporary malfunction of memory; identity or society at large, where the technological advancements of our digital age make reality more distorted, virtual and intangible. The challenge was to represent this digital neurosis through entirely analogue means.”
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